Monday, 26 January 2009

La Décision Doypack (2008) by Paul Rooney

"These works approach the subject of historical memory. Exploring the way in which history only properly exists if it is actively recalled in the present, but also how flawed that recollection can be, the works ultimately reveal the comedy and melancholy involved in attempting to represent the past in art."

The film is set in a brightly colored studio, with actors and props utilizing the space to re-create the experience of an Australian food packaging manager who finds himself in Paris during the upheaval of May 68 events.

The packaging manager’s memoir, (which Rooney found online and based his text on) is used to access these events free from the burden of historical analysis. Hence, ambivalence, artificiality and humour are employed as techniques to create a distanced and mediated approach to historicity. Paul Rooney references Jean-Luc Godard to root his approach that film practice is a theatrical and mediated process of re-creating experience. It is thus acknowledged as a packaging device which most probably separates us from the content as (food) packaging separates us from the food. The idea of separation is further employed in the end of the film when the narrator imagines the city of Paris being completely 'packaged' in cling-foil.

The use of text, language, actors and props are integral to the piece as they are constantly shifting meanings, always changing directions before becoming solidified. Often, we are presented with a certain tactility and intensified mediation : the use of gestures, props such as toy planes and maps, shots of handshakes that have a noticeable duration, the touching of a cling-foil surface accompanied with a 'silly' song or even shots which reveal the studio.

Consequently, we are reminded of the authorship that is ought to be acknowledged in attempting to re-create a historical moment. In effect the film is always lingering between seriousness and funny and is constantly upsetting the expectations of cinematic narrative.

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